Friday, 11 January, 2013
"Evolution of Transcriptional Regulatory Mofits"
Ivan Erill - Assistant Professor
University of Maryland
Department of Biological Sciences
Transcriptinal regulation is the primary component of bacterial regulatory systems. At this level, regulation is mediated by transcription factors(TF), which bine DNA at specific loci known as binding sites and modulate the expression of nearby genes. In spite of their importance, relatively little is known about how transcription factor locate and bind their sites, or how these proteins and their cognate sites co-evolve. This has led to generic models of FT binding that rely on several poorly tested assumptions. Our lab uses a reverse engineering approach to address questions about the co-evolution of TFs and their cognate sites and the implications of this process for FT binding models. We simulate TF and binding site co-evolution explicitly in realistic genomic environments, and we test the outcome of different FT model constraints under different conditions. This allows us to examine the informational and biophysical requirements faced by TFs and their sites, generating a theoretical framework capable of explaiining the available experimental data.